Chapter One: Grace and Devotion to Mary
Chapter Two: Mary, Holy Objects and God
Chapter Three: Primary Teachings - Mary the Virgin
Chapter Four: Mary and Jesus
Chapter Five: Deeper Teachings -
Chapter Six: Teachings Not Yet Declared Dogmas -
Jesus and Mary
A Mediator with our Mediator
Chapter Seven: Final Thoughts and Reflections
of the Holy Spirit
of Jesus Made Present
and Church Unity
Consecration to Mary Individual and
Litany of Mary's Faith Journey
© Copyright, J. Roy MacIntyre 2009
Mediatrix of All Graces
The teaching of Mary as Mediatrix of all graces is likely the most difficult of the doctrines of Mary to understand, not so much in terms of how she is, but in terms of to what extent and why she is Mediatrix of all graces. Another way of expressing this doctrine is to state that Mary is the Dispensatrix or Dispenser of all graces.
St. Paul tells us he was entrusted with the grace meant for others and in that way he was a mediator of that grace between God and the people (Eph 3:2-13). Another way of putting it was that he was the dispenser of the grace entrusted to him that was meant for others. St. Peter expands this idea of being mediator of grace to all of us (1Pt 4:10-11) and reminds us of the obligation that goes with these graces we receive that are meant to be past on to others. So, these scriptures highlight the process of being a mediator of grace for other. How Mary is Mediatrix of all graces is a simple expansion of this idea; the Grace of salvation for all is, Jesus Christ, and He was entrusted to Mary by God for the world. All Grace, Jesus, was given to the world by and through Mary.
Jesus did not just come physically through Mary but by means of the consent of her will and her faith as noted above. In other words because of Mary’s consent and her faith the person who is All Grace is given to the world. For these two reasons, her faith and consent and her bringing Jesus to the world Mary is the mediatrix or channel of All Grace as embodied in the Person of her Son, Jesus. Without her consent and faith we would not have our Saviour come into the world. Also since Mary received Jesus from the Father, carried Him in her womb and finally at Cana gave Him to the world, she is the dispenser of All Grace, Jesus Christ and therefore she is also the dispenser of every individual grace.
St. Paul was given the grace of a marvellous revelation hidden even from the angels and meant for the people of God (Eph 3:9-10). This revelation was the grace given through him to the Gentiles. Since All Grace, that is, Jesus, comes through Mary, each grace also comes through her. Even the grace Paul received for others would not have been received if not for Mary's acceptance of God's call to her to be the mother of His Son, and her obedient and believing faith in bringing about the incarnation of Jesus. Therefore, this grace of Paul's and similarly every grace for every other person has come through Mary.
It may be hard for us to accept this reasoning about Mary being mediatrix of all graces because we separate the graces we receive from God, from the fact of the Incarnation. However, if there is no Incarnation then there is no blood sacrifice of the Lamb of God, and therefore there is no salvation for those in either Old or New Testament times.
Certainly the saints of the Old Testament received God's grace and gifts apparently without Mary. However, these graces come as noted above in anticipation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus is never to come then any apparent grace received by the people amounts to nothing since all are in fact doomed to eternal death because of the sin of Adam.
All of God's revelation in the Old Testament points toward Jesus, Who is to deliver His people from their sins. In fact, St. Paul tells us that the Hebrews "drank from the spiritual Rock that was following them and the Rock was Christ" (1Cor 10:4). Therefore, all the graces received in that era only occur in anticipation of Jesus and since Jesus would only come by Mary, she could be seen to be the mediatrix of graces even of the Old Testament saints. Therefore, we can see that any grace we receive comes through her, in her consent to God and in her faith in being the Bringer-forth of the God-man, the Saviour of mankind, Jesus Christ.
We have salvation by Mary's consent and by her faith but that is not to say that God could not have brought about salvation by other means. There are endless possibilities of how God could have delivered the salvation of the human race. However, if we consider the fact that God is perfect, we can see that whatever way He chooses to accomplish His will is the perfect way. Therefore, God's choice of Mary as the door, conduit or portal, so to speak, of our salvation, must be the most perfect and most glorious means of bringing about our salvation through the Word Incarnate, Jesus.
So, to sum up, we can see that Mary is the mediatrix of All Grace, Jesus, since He took the flesh for the salvation of the human race by her faith and consent. He came by means of her. By virtue of the fact that she is mediatrix of All Grace, Jesus, she is therefore, mediatrix or dispenser of all graces as well. God's formula of using Mary as the channel of our salvation is the most perfect formula, since it is the design of our All-knowing, All-powerful and All-loving God.
Mary as Mediatrix is difficult to understand since Mary is a mere creature. An image that helps me understand Mary's role in God's plan of redemption can be seen in the function of a simple pinhole camera. A pinhole camera is a closed box, on the inside back of which is placed the film, as in any camera. However instead of a lens a tiny pinhole is made in the front of the box that can be uncovered to let outside light come through onto the film. The light from the outside of the camera passes through the pinhole and projects a perfect image of the outside world on the back of the camera just like a lens focuses on an ordinary camera. The image is then recorded on the film or photographic paper.
In this metaphor of the pinhole camera we can see the world outside the camera as representing the Father's will for mankind coming from heaven. The light can be compared to the Holy Spirit, Who brings the Father's will to mankind. The Image of the Father inside the camera can be seen to be Jesus and His work, the will of the Father on Earth. In this metaphor for Mary’s role, she can be seen as the nothingness that is the pinhole, which dispenses the Light unhindered from heaven projecting Jesus into this world of darkness.
The image of Mary being so emptied of self as to be like the opening of a pinhole camera that allowed Christ to become visible in the world, offers us a spiritual goal. In imitation of Mary, we can strive for that humility that would allow us to empty ourselves so that no longer do we live but Christ lives in us (Gal 4:4). In this way we would allow Jesus to be projected through us into the world around us. However, to empty ourselves of self can only be accomplished by the action and grace of the Holy Spirit. So, we can ask the Spirit of God to give us the grace to become like Mary, emptied of self and transparent to God’s action.
Now that we have taken a little time in coming to understand Mary’s role as Mediatrix of All Grace let us turn to another aspect of Mary’s role to advocate before God for the people of God.